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President Erdogan defends Turkey's offensive in Syria

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President Erdogan defends Turkey's offensive in Syria

Intense fighting erupts on Turkish Syria border
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There has been intense fighting as Turkish troops and their allies advance on a Kurdish enclave in Syria.

Ankara's offensive aimed at ousting the US-backed Kurdish militia from the area has now entered its fourth day

The Turkish mission named Operation Olive Branch, has heightened tensions in the already complicated Syrian conflict, further straining ties between Turkey and the US.

Turkey considers the Kurdish YPG fighters as allies of Kurdish insurgents back home. It's aim is to create a 30-kilometre wide "secure zone" in Afrin, the Kurdish-controlled enclave that straddles its borders.

On Monday ( Jan 22) Turkey's southern border town of Kilis was struck by a missile fired from within Syria.

In all 14 missiles have landed on the town since Turkey began its military operation, wounding 8 people.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has defended the offensive on Afrin saying there will be no pulling back:

"Afrin will be settled," he said. "There will be no let up until the operation is complete. We have discussed this with our Russian friends, we have an agreement."

A representative of Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government, Jawidan Hassan, has condemned the ongoing operation by Turkish troops.

"We consider what is happening in Afrin a war against the whole of humanity. In this war, President Erdogan wants to break the will of the People's Protection Units (YPG), who have struggled against the terrorism of so- called Islamic State group on behalf of the whole world."

Some reports say at east 80 people have been killed in the fighting since Saturday. International reaction has been to call for restraint and concern has been raised over civilians caught up in the fighting.